June 30, 2007

A Farewell

"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players."

Words quoted by famous playwright William Shakespeare in 'As You Like It' and words so pertinently true for what's facing me now. As I draw nearer to the completion of my undergraduate life, I begin to acutely feel the pinch of loss as friends I've made here take steps towards other chapters of their life, especially those who have decided that their future does not lie in Melbourne. Life's like that, people come and go through the revolving doors of your heart - leaving their imprint and then disappearing as fast as they appeared. Some of them are forgettable as footprints in sand, others not so easily forgotten.

My dear friend Robby leaves on a Sunday afternoon flight back to Singapore and consequently, his undergraduate life in Melbourne as a student. When he touches down, he will find love and the creature comforts of home. Yet, he will also find uncertainty and struggle as he contends with both the materialistic climate back home and the demands placed on him by both the workplace and home. I have confidence though, that my dear brother in Christ will be victorious in his struggle. What makes me so sure? The evidence is all there, his actions and demeanour now betray the stirrings of a man whose heart is truly passionate for God.

When we first arrived in Melbourne, we were as travellers on a murky road - both unsure as to what the future in Melbourne would hold for us. We were also journeymen on a spiritual quest to find true meaning in life and consequently, true deliverance in the name of Christ. Looking back through all these years, Robby has been one person who's consistently been there to share my triumphs and pain. And for that, I really give thanks to God for providing me such a wonderful brother in Christ. I remember November 2004, where he invited another friend and me to his house for a home-cooked dinner. It was there that his hospitality and his willingness to serve his friends stood out for me, providing much-needed inspiration in an area of life where I was struggling with personally.

It was fun finding out his true nature, his quirks and mindset, his preferences and distastes - all a process of planting and nurturing a deep-rooted friendship. I remember Oceania Convention 2005 where we would often sneak off early from late-night service together with Kevin Cheng in order to squeeze out an extra 10 minutes of sleep. I remember his baptism and how I was there to witness it and to share in his joy. I remember all the soccer sessions and all the great goals and even more extravagant misses. I remember the sheperding sessions with Keith and how we would share private jokes under his nose. So many memories this friendship will hold, and I will always hold in my heart.

I say goodbye to him not forever, because I'm sure we'll see each other again in Singapore. I say goodbye to him as a fellow undergraduate, fellow overseas student in Melbourne and fellow journeyman in a three years I saw Robby mature into a passionate man of God.

Goodbye Robby, you will be sorely missed.

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